Dragonball Alternate Dimension
Epilogue: "Tears, Cheers and Rice" By Aoi Kami Sarah
(-*-) indicates a change in setting from one dimension to another.
(*) indicates a change of scene or great lapse of time in the same dimension.
"Hun, you want some tea?" Atsuko asked her husband and turned the burner off. The whistle slowly died out.
"Uh? Oh, sure." Gohan was buried deep in his work. Papers and books: the clutter of the academic, were strewn all over his desk. She set the cup down on top of a pile. He looked over his glasses at her. She smiled and turned to go back to the sewing she had left in order to make the tea. Gohan reached out suddenly and grasped her around the waist. She shrieked and juggled the tea cup as he set her down on his lap. Gohan squeezed and planted a huge, dopey kiss on her. Atsuko closed her eyes and slowly put the cup down.
"Nnnnn..." the Rashawoman's tune turned sour.
"Maybe they'll go away." Gohan didn't want an interruption now.
"Well, we so rarely get visitors. Besides, we can do this later!" She winked at him and reluctantly got up.
Thinking of the stranger at the door, Gohan blushed and pretended to be busy.
Atsuko went to the door.
"Uh, hello! Is Go-chan at home?" the young man with the yellow and black headband asked enthusiastically.
"Um, I think so. May I ask whose calling?"
"Oh!" he said, a little embarrassed that his nervousness had impaired his manners. "I'm Ryoga Hibiki."
Atsuko remembered where she had seen him before. "Oh, from the Budoukai, right?"
"Yes Ma'am." He bowed his head slightly.
'Hey, a polite one!' she thought, thinking back to the long list of her youngest daughter's less courteous suitors. "Please, come in!" Atsuko lead him into the house and introduced him to Go-chan's father. The men chatted about the Tenkai Ichi Budoukai Gohan had seen him compete in, while Atsuko looked for her daughter.
"Go-chan?" she called up the stairs.
"Yeah Mom?" Instead, her son poked his head around the corner. He was towel- drying his black, spiky hair.
"No Gosan, I'm looking for your sister."
"She's in the shower."
"Tell her when she gets out that there's a Ryoga Hibiki here to see her."
"RYOGA!?" Gosan, wearing only a pair of orange pants, yelled and flew down the stairs. Atsuko flattened herself against the wall to avoid him. Her dress ruffled in the wake.
He ran into the living room and tackled the visitor. "Yo! Ryoga! Long time no see!!"
"Gosan!? Jesus, you're huge!!"
The younger boy let him go and grinned with pleasure. "Yeah, I been workin' out. How ya been, man? And how's Ranma and Akane?"
"You mean Mr. and Mrs. Saotome? They're pretty good. They're expecting a kid any day now."
"Oh wow, that's crazy!"
Ryoga was a little weary from his travels and Gosan's enthusiasm was making his head spin.
"Whatcha been up to?"
"I've been doing some traveling, actually."
"Oh, sure, did ya have a choice?" he snickered, knowing Ryoga's terrible sense of direction frequently got him hopelessly lost.
"No, really! Your sister gave me this." He pulled a pendant out of his shirt and flipped it open. The compass needle pointed north and straight at Gosan. "I haven't been lost since." Ryoga looked up past the needle, past Gosan and saw what he had come all this way to see.
Go-chan's hair was still wet, but it stuck up anyway; a shorter, blue version of her brother's coif. Her eyes sparkled, her tail wagged slowly. Ryoga felt somehow renewed.
"Ryoga," she blushed. "You found me."
He held out the compass-pendant and nodded. Atsuko ushered Gohan outside and had to practically spell it out to Gosan that they ought to leave them alone for a while.
Gohan grabbed a book on his way out. The couple sat under his favorite tree. Atsuko waved to her mother-in-law who was next door, hanging wash on the line. Gosan walked over and asked her where his grandfather could be found, then flew off to the east. Atsuko nestled in to her husband's chest and sighed. He began to read aloud.
"Once upon a time..."
Akiko and Trunks held hands. She looked to Marron, Kashtan, Pan, Rojan and Okano. Adonai sneered at the boys who were so excited they could hardly stand still. Vegeta, Bulma, Roland, Bra, Korosette, Goten, Gohan, Chi-chi and Videl had all gathered to see them off. It wasn't every day one got to witness the inter-dimensional fabric ripped asunder.
Pan's stomach turned. "Uh, it's not too late to change my mind, is it?"
"Don't worry." Rojan squeezed her shoulders. "I'll be with you. And I'm just as nervous as you are. I'm going to have to meet my own mother!"
"It's just... I haven't seen my grandfather in so long..."
Vegeta's keen ears picked up on this murmured comment. His eyes grew wide, but he listened rather than reacted.
"I wonder how powerful he is over there. If he's different or just the same old Goku."
That was the ticket! The Prince clenched his fists as a plan raced through his mind.
Akiko raised her arm and using the katana, cut a portal eight feet tall and circular. The celestial wind whipped out of its brightness, astounding all who had never seen it. "Ok, everybody ready?"
"I AM!" Vegeta shouted suddenly and burst through the hole. "HERE I COME, KAKAROTT!!!"
"Everyone stared, dumb-struck for a beat as the Prince disappeared into the void. The first person to react was his wife.
"VEGETA!! What are you doing!?! You're going to ruin Trunks and Kiko's big day!!" With that, she chased after him into Dibad.
"MOM?! DAD!" Bra and Trunks yelled. Akiko, not quite able to blink, held onto him tightly, preventing him from following suit. Bra, unimpeded, followed, just as mad.
"Mommy!" her young daughter, Korosette cried and leapt in after her.
"Korosette! Non!" Roland followed her.
Chi-chi blinked rapidly. "What did he say? Ka ka.. rott? Did he mean GOKU!?" She looked up, pleadingly, at her sons.
"I think so," Gohan replied. "Goten?"
His brother nodded. "They're gonna need help."
They both blasted off after Vegeta through the portal.
"What!? Goku's still alive!?" Chi-chi cried, shielded her eyes and ran blindly though the hole. Videl protested, but was unable to grab her in time.
"Mom, Gohan, wait!"
Marron, Kashtan, Pan, Rojan and Okano: the only ones left who had actually been invited to visit Dibad, looked to Akiko for instructions.
"Moma, what just happened?" Soma made a face and looked up to her.
Akiko's face was comical. She shook her head slowly and shrugged, defeated.
"We'd better get going. There's gonna be a lot of explaining to do," Trunks suggested. She nodded and waved her guests through the portal.
Adonai simply rolled his eyes and walked leisurely through. Soma caught up to him and held onto him, instinctively.
Akiko's expression slowly fell. She sighed and hung her head. "Oh well. Never a dull moment, huh?" She gestured for her fiancee to go before her and closed the gate behind them both.
"Kiko!!" Atsuko shouted. Soma hugged her grandmother, smiling wide. Akiko sheathed the katana and ran to her mother. "What on Earth is going on?!"
Bulma wagged her tail nervously. "Where did he go?! Those jerks wouldn't even stop to take me with them!"
Akiko motioned for her to be patient. "Mom, where's Grandada?"
Pan stared at the blue haired women and wondered the same thing. Rojan stared as well with his heart in his throat.
"Somewhere out there with Gosan and Goten. Your father took off after that man.."
"So did Gohan and.. eh.. that is, so did OUR Gohan and Goten," Videl stepped forward and added.
Trunks felt out and soon located them. "Wow. It's kinda hard to keep track with two of Gohan and Goten, but I know where they are."
"Good! Let's go!"
"Mom, I really don't think that's a good idea..."
"You got a better one?!" Bulma yelled back. "I'm the only person who can talk sense into his tiny, little, alien mind! Take me there!!"
Trunks grimaced and looked to Akiko. She nodded her agreement and he did as his mother told him.
"Where is he!?" Chi-chi demanded. Videl turned her attention to calming her down, which was never an easy task. Suddenly, the older woman settled down on her own as she took in her surroundings. She didn't recognize two of the newer-looking houses, but the middle one was all too familiar. She also knew the face of the woman emerging from its front door, intimately.
Atsuko looked very confused. "What the hell is going on? Akiko, you're ok! And you're not PALE!" She fussed over her and poked her to see if she was real.
Akiko took her mother's hands. "I'm not a Goddess anymore." She grinned widely . "And I'm getting married!"
Atsuko and the distant Chi-chi fainted.
Vegeta barreled through the air after the ki signature. His heart raced. He laughed nervously. Soon, the sparring ground was in view. There were three men in orange gis standing, staring at his approach. Kakarott, the younger brat Goten, and one even younger who he didn't recognize. Vegeta set down slowly, taking in the figure of the man whom he had last seen dead.
Vegeta wore jeans, a white tee shirt and a jacket with a large Capsule logo on the right breast which only served to further confuse his opponents. He folded his arms and grinned.
"Hello, Kakarott. It's been too long."
Goku gritted his teeth.
"Dad, who is he? How does he know your Saiyan name?" Goten asked.
"It CAN'T be! You've been dead for over 30 years!!" Goku cried.
"What!?" Vegeta was visibly shocked. He made a face worse than his usual grimace. "You're the one who's been dead, you pea-brain!" His tail unfurled and bristled.
"Wha...?" Goku scratched his head. He felt an incoming ki and grinned. "Well, Vegeta or whoever you are, if ya wanna fight, you're odds of winning just got worse."
'Gohan,' he thought. 'A WEAK Gohan.' Vegeta laughed out loud. "Oh, please." He kicked his power level up to Super Saiyan in a flash as Gohan touched down next to the rest of his family. They all stared incredulously at the Prince. All four men scowled, took a stance and went Super as well. They charged forward in a line, but stopped dead and stared, even more perplexed, past Vegeta.
"What the..!?!" Goku, Gohan, Goten and Gosan exclaimed in almost identical voices.
Gohan and Goten touched down behind Vegeta. "Stop this," the older Son brother demanded. "This is not the time to fight."
Annoyed, Vegeta turned his head slightly and barked over his shoulder at them. "And just what are you going to do to stop me? It's been years since I've had a challenge and I will not be denied this opportunity!"
"VEGETA!!!" a shrill, woman's scream pierced the air. Vegeta was the only one who cringed. "Whatever it is you're thinking about doing... DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!!!"
"Bulma?!" Goku asked getting more and more lost by the moment.
Trunks set his squirming mother down. "How DARE you!? This is supposed to be Trunks's time! I thought I'd never get him married off, and now that he's finally getting hitched you have to go and pull this shit?! You're going to ruin everything!!"
"Shut up, woman! I'm not going to kill the man! I merely wanted to test his strength!"
Trunks bit his lip. He felt about twelve years old again, stuck in the cross fire of a good old-fashioned Vegeta/Bulma fight. He rolled his eyes.
"Sha!" she scoffed. "And beat the living hell out of him, no doubt!"
"Well, yes, that too."
Bulma noticed that they had an audience and switched to her second language. "You will do NO SUCH THING."
Vegeta cursed vehemently in Saiyan, glowered at her and powered up quickly (to just about everyone's surprise) to Super Saiyan level three.
Bulma frowned deeper, but stood her ground. Her hair and tail blew wildly around her in the wind that his power up generated. Just when they thought that he was going to kill her, he cooled off and sighed, defeated.
"Thank you," she said honestly, but curtly. "After the ceremony you boys can have all the bloody fun you want." She looked Goku in the eyes briefly and smiled wistfully, then walked back to her speechless son. She demanded wordlessly that he take her back to the Son house. Goten and Gohan knew that Vegeta would most definitely do what she said, but the others still looked on, not sure of the Saiyan Prince's intentions.
Gosan was the first to snap out of it. He stepped forward and grinned. "Hey, General! How's it going?"
"Wha...?" Vegeta stared at him.
"'Member me?" Gosan pushed his bangs back away from his Rasha star.
Vegeta's mouth went slack. "What!? You're that quarter Saiyan from the war, Akiko's brother!"
"Yeah! Gosan!" He nodded quickly. "How ya been, Mr Oujisama?"
Vegeta looked from the boy to Gohan to Goku and back again. 'How could I have been so blind! This means that...' He growled and shot off toward the houses.
Etibi Gohan motioned for the others to stay where they were and took off after him.
"Vegeta! Before you do anything..." he struggled for the right way to phrase it. 'Stupid? No. Insane? Eh... Regrettable?...' "Rash..." he pleaded, "think about Trunks."
"I'll be as rash as I want with that conniving woman of mine!"
Gohan stopped in mid air and watched him disappear over the horizon. He laughed a little to himself. "Boy, he sure has changed. A few years ago he wouldn't have thought twice about ripping me a new one!" He shook his head and flew back to the other men.
"Dad!" Goten cried and ran to the older Saiyan. "Wow! I can't believe it's really you! It's been so long!" He wrapped his arms around Goku and squeezed. Hard.
He let him go and laughed nervously. "Sorry, I just couldn't help myself. And speaking of myself…" He turned to his doppelgänger. "Hi, me!"
"Uh.. Hi... Me?" Dibad Goten waved back slowly.
Gosan scratched his head. "What are you guys doing here, Goten?"
"There's gonna be a wedding!" Goten cheered.
Etibi Gohan touched down beside his brother and looked his own doppelgänger in the eye. "Your daughter has come home to marry the father of her children. They're waiting back at the houses."
"WHAT!?" all four exclaimed in unison and felt out for Akiko's ki.
"He's right! Oh my God, Akiko!!" Gohan beamed and took off like a shot. Everyone else followed him.
The Chi-chi's were deep in conversation, sharing stories and occasionally shrieking as they finished each other's sentences. The grey-haired Chi-chi couldn't get past the fact that her Etibi counterpart still had mostly black hair. "I TOLD those girls it was their fault!"
Akiko introduced her mother and the others to some of her friends.
"Mom, this is Goten's wife, and Krillin and Android Number 18's daughter, Marron and her son, Kashtan. This is.. heh.. Gohan's wife Videl and her daughter, Pan, her son Okano and this..." she paused for dramatic effect, "is Rojan Chonekken Hoshi, son of Beksha Chonekken and Lona Chogung."
Atsuko stared at the man in wonder. She smiled sweetly. "Hi. I'm Lona Chogung Called Atsuko Aoi Son. Welcome to our world."
Akago and Ryoga emerged from the house and she had all she could do to explain the sudden arrival of a dozen or so house guests. They then greeted and chatted with Marron, Pan and Rojan and marveled at their offspring.
Akiko, Trunks, Soma and Adonai sat close together under the favorite tree. At last, the men came back.
"Where'd Vegeta go?" Gohan asked his wife.
Videl jogged over to him from the Chi-chis. "He went to Capsule with his family."
"Really? What happened? Did he yell at Bulma or anything?" Goten asked, very surprised.
"Mmm.. no. He didn't look thrilled, but when she told him that in this dimension, she married Yamcha and suggested they all go over and pay them a visit, he just picked her up and took off with her. Roland, Bra and Koro borrowed your.. eh..." she stumbled and blushed. She saw Dibad Gohan step out of the air just behind hers. "HIS mother's car." She pointed to him as he joined his wife under the tree. They all stood and Akiko hugged him tightly. She then introduced Trunks to his future father-in-law.
"Where the hell are they!?" Bra was getting nervous. She fidgeted in her seat and tried not to stare at the Capsule building.
"Why can't we go in, Mama?"
"Because we weren't invited."
"Mais Bulma et Vegeta weren't invited either," Roland commented.
"Yeah, but they're much better at being rude than I am!" Bra sighed and played with her hair. "What time did Marron say we have to go shopping for clothes for the ceremony?"
"Tomorrow morning at ten."
"Mmm." She twisted her hair faster.
Roland looked worried. "Chere?"
"I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!" Bra yelled and flung the car door open.
Roland tried to wedge himself out of the tiny aircar quickly, but barely made it to the door with Koro before Bra had wrung the bell.
"Yeah?" asked the tall, darkly tanned woman who answered.
Bra stepped back a bit. 'Oh my God.... is that... SHIELER!?' "Uh, is Bulma Briefs at home?"
She gingerly pushed her long, blonde hair out of her face with a hand adorned with tremendously long fingernails. A dozen or so heavy, gold bangles clanged down her arm as she did this. "Is she 'specting you?"
"No, actually." A large sweat drop appeared above Bra's head and she thought about running away.
"Moooooooooom!" Shieler yelled the word as if it meant 'fire'. "She'll be right here." She looked down her nose and made a face. "Do I know you?"
"Uh, not really."
Shieler shrugged and disappeared into the house.
Roland lifted up his sunglasses and blinked at the departing hoochie. "Que'st que c'est ça?"
"J'n' sais pas," Bra muttered in reply.
"Elle est folle!" Korosette piped.
"Shhh, Koro! That's not nice. She's not nuts, just... different," her mother semi-scolded.
Finally, the woman they had come to see appeared at the door. "Can I... help.. you?" She was older, but still slim and well-dressed. Her aqua hair was in need of dying and her face was marked by tiny wrinkles, just as Bra's own mother had appeared only a few months ago.
"Hi. I'm Bra. This is my husband, Roland and our daughter, Korosette," Bra stammered. "We're friends of Akiko's."
Bulma's mouth hung open a bit, but she nodded as she glanced at each of them in turn. "Please," she all but whispered. "Come in."
"Put me down this instant!" Saiyan Bulma screamed when she realized that Vegeta was not taking her to Capsule. "What do you think you're doing!?"
She struggled fiercely in his grip. He actually had to hold on tightly against her Saiyan strength. Vegeta grumbled, but kept his mouth shut. Once he opened it, he wasn't sure if she would ever talk to him again.
Finally, a clearing opened up and the Prince came in for a landing. He let her go and she continued to tongue lash him and his bad manners.
"Woman, do shut up."
Bulma stopped mid rant. He was as calm as a clear sky. She stared at him in wonder. Something was wrong, very wrong.
"Woman," he gritted his teeth. "When were you planning on telling me about my future daughter-in-law's heritage?"
She made a face and hunkered down. "Um, well.." Then she remembered her plan. "WHEN THEY GOT BACK!! Long after they had been legally joined as husband and wife because I knew you'd fly off the handle, but since you somehow figured it out before and rushed into this dimension like the vindictive freak you are, I didn't get the chance!"
To her surprise, this didn't seem to shake him.
"Tell me everything. Now."
Bulma frowned and sat down.
"...So we hid it from you. Christ, Trunks didn't even know she's Goku's granddaughter for a while."
He stood motionless with his back to her. Bulma furrowed her brows. For the first time in long time in the span of their relationship, she was at a loss as to what he was thinking. But she could guess, and it frightened her.
"Vegeta, I'm... I'm...." she glared up at him. 'Damn it! Why can't you just yell at me like you usually do!?' "I was only looking out for everyone's best interest. I didn't think..."
Silence. Arms still tightly folded.
She got up and approached him slowly. "Does it really bother you that much, or was I over reacting? Please, Vegeta...?"
"I wish you had just told me," he said and turned to face her. "I wish you had told me everything. Don't you trust me after all these years?"
The hurt in his eyes stabbed her in the heart. She became ashen with shame and tears vaulted out of her eyes. "Oh, Vegeta, I'm so sorry! Of COURSE I do! I just, I don't know.. Maybe I just wanted to.. protect you..." She bit her lip and watched his eyes closely.
She thanked Kami as they softened; saying without words, 'it's all right.' He unfolded his arms and extended them toward her. Bulma threw herself against his chest and sobbed heavily. The Prince wrapped his arms around her and held her close, silently forgiving his loving wife.
As night fell on Dibad, the guests gathered at the Son house. The Chi-chis were busy making dinner. The siblings and Ryoga lent them a hand. Atsuko, Videl, Akiko and Pan chatted and planned the wedding. Rojan watched his mother's every move, a slight smile never leaving his lips. The Gohans were comparing notes on their studies. Trunks, the Gotens, Marron and Paris played cards. Goten and Paris's Daughter, Nyoku and Soma played Chinese checkers on the living room floor. Adonai, Kashtan Okano and Goku sparred lightly in the forest out back. Suddenly there was a knock at the door.
"Who could that POSSIBLY be...? asked Chi-chi.
"...The whole WORLD is here already!" her counterpart concluded.
"Maybe it's Bra and Roland?" Pan wondered.
"No, they called and said they won't be here for another half an hour," Marron informed them.
"Vegeta and Bulma?" Akago fretted.
"I kinda doubt it," Trunks rolled his eyes and murmured.
Atsuko answered the door.
"Good evening, everyone."
Akiko jumped out of her seat. "Mira!" She ran to the door and hugged her aunt. "Come in! I KNEW we were missing someone!"
Mira folded her arms around Akiko gracefully. "It's good to see you too, Akiko."
"You remember everyone, right?"
Akiko lead her in and grabbed Trunks by the arm. "And you remember my fiancee..." she grinned wide.
"I had a feeling." Mira smiled at the man. "It is about time. Akiko. Tell me about your journey. I want to hear all about it."
As those who were outside were brought in, two air cars touched down in the driveway. Bra, Roland and Korosette got out of one, and Bulma, Yamcha, T, his wife, Shieler and their daughter Serena climbed out of the second. Everyone gathered around the once-Goddess as she unraveled the story of her fall from grace... into happiness.
Everyone was busy the following day. The women (except Mira who had her own agenda) all went out and bought dresses and rented tuxedos. The Bulmas, Bra and Shieler lead the charge on the shops, throwing money around like it was confetti (much to the delight of the Son women).
Most of the men spent the daylight hours beating each other senseless. Goku and Vegeta distanced themselves from the others, but everyone could feel the heavy duty amounts of energy they emitted.
Trunks and Goten took on Goten and Gosan for the lack of Trunks "T" Pao who sat with his father, Roland, Akago and Ryoga on the porch. They knew they were hopelessly outclassed by the alien hybrids. The children were just outside the forest... playing.
"Adonai! I really don't think this is the best idea!" Soma pleaded with her brother.
"Why not?" piped Serena. Her shrill voice was like fingernails on a chalk board to the young Prince. "I never seen anything like that before and I really want to, bad! And when I want to do somethin' I GET to do it!" She stomped her foot down.
"Yeah!" Korosette mimicked her cousin. "If you guys go and try and see Grampa fight Goku and you don't take us with, I'm gonna tell!" She stuck her tongue out at him. Soma looked even more worried at that prospect.
Nyoku looked on silently as the argument heated up.
"Come on, Ado. They won't get in the way." Kashtan sided with the girls.
"Who the hell said you guys were coming!?"
"Well Ado," Okano said matter of factly as he stretched out. "We're related too. That's why Aunt Akiko invited us here in the first place."
"That may be, but it doesn't mean she wanted you to get hurt."
"What!?" Soma bit her nails.
"They have you two so far outclassed, it's not even slightly amusing. If you go, I won't be held responsible for anything that might happen to you," Ado sneered evily at the Son boys.
"We didn't ask for a baby-sitter, Adonai." Koro furrowed her brows. "We'll be FINE."
"Fine. Tag along if you must." He turned his back and began to take off.
"Come on Soma," Okano said as he reached out to pick her up.
"ABSOLUTELY NOT!!" Ado yelled. "Soma stays here!"
She pouted. "But Adonai, if they ask me where you guys have gone..."
Adonai growled. Damn his sister. It was like she was programmed to tell the truth. She could never bring herself to lie, even if it meant being a tattle tale. "FINE! But if she gets hurt, I HURT YOU. Got it?!" he glared at Okano.
"Got it!" he chimed, unfazed and scooped Soma up into his arms. "Come on, Cousin."
"Nyoku, you comin' too?" Kashtan offered her his arms.
"Sure," the terminally shy girl replied and lifted slowly off the ground. Kash blinked a few times. Korosette cleared her throat. Kash giggled nervously and picked her up instead.
"AREN'T YOU FORGETTING SOMEONE, NYOKU?!" Serena screamed.
Nyoku jerked to a halt and retrieved her friend.
"Come on, Kakarott, you can do better than that!" Super Saiyan Vegeta yelled as he blocked another 40 times Kamehameha. The blast ricocheted off his palm and destroyed a small mountain.
Goku, also in Super Saiyan, panted. 'I really doubt I can keep up with this guy much longer!' he thought. 'But this is the best workout I've had in YEARS!' He smirked and charged the Prince again.
They had been fighting since late dawn. Vegeta had come to his house and waited outside like a gentleman until Goku emerged. This surprised him. His granddaughter and Trunks had filled him in with the entire back story, but until the full-bred Saiyan men came face to face, he had no idea just how much Vegeta had changed since last he saw him: the first time Goku died.
"All right, I'm warm now." Vegeta turned on the offensive and began pummeling Goku. After fifteen minutes or so of giving him a steady beating, Vegeta backed off. Goku was raw and bloody. His chest heaved with exertion, but the smile still hung on his lips. "Shit," Vegeta swore and floated back down to Earth. Only then did Goku frown. "It's just no good."
"What's the matter, Vegeta? You gettin' tired?"
He scoffed at this. "Does it look like it?" He powered back down. "You're the one who needs a nap."
"Then whaddaya mean, 'no good'?"
He folded his arms and pouted. "I am the greatest Saiyan, at long last."
"Yeah, I gotta admit, you've become unbelievably strong! I wouldn't have a chance if ya REALLY wanted to do me in."
Vegeta snarled. "You're right, I'm not going to kill you. I just wanted to best you."
"And you have. So what's the problem? Let's keep going!"
"You just don't get it, do you? You're NOTHING compared to him! Nothing!"
Vegeta screamed, referring to the Goku of his dimension, who had given his
life to save the world a final time so many years ago. "Even the day he died
he was a hundred times your better and mine if not my equal!"
Goku was taken aback, but understood his frustration. He sobered. "Then train me."
"Train me! It sounds like I was a good learner in your dimension. I wish you could teach me some of the things the other me knew how to do!"
The Prince was astonished. He stared at Goku for a moment before bursting out laughing.
"I'm serious!" Goku pouted. "I want to be as strong as you, Vegeta!"
This just made him laugh even harder.
Adonai frowned as he watched his grandfather and great-grandfather.
"What's Vegeta laughing about?" Kash asked.
"I dunno," Okano listened carefully, but couldn't make out the words.
A tiny voice answered. "Grampa wants Vegeta to train him." Everyone turned and looked at Nyoku. She blushed deeply.
"You heard that?" Ado hissed.
"I'm good at that cause I'm so... quiet," she muttered and shuffled her feet.
Ado looked to the sparring grounds. Vegeta had stopped laughing and seemed to be... TALKING to Goku!? He gritted his teeth.
"ADONAI!" Vegeta called with a heavy Saiyan accent. You and your little friends get over here!"
They all jumped, but obeyed. Goku was amused that all the children had all come out to watch them.
"What the hell's going on, Grandfather?!"
"Respect me, boy," Vegeta warned.
"Apologies, Grandfather. I just don't see the point in training this low-class..."
".. This low-class warrior is your blood, in case you've forgotten. Maybe that's why you still have yet to break Super Saiyan." Vegeta turned his back and closed his eyes.
"What are they saying?" Serena asked.
Soma, the only other person present who was semi-fluent in Saiyan answered, but never took her eyes off her brother. "I think we should back up a few paces..." The energy in the air built up steadily.
Adonai growled and began concentrating his energy.
Vegeta turned and glared at him. "Maybe that's why you're so weak!!" he yelled. Goku furrowed his brows. He may not have been able to understand Saiyan, but he knew Vegeta was berating him.
"Hey, you wanna talk my language, please? I'd like to know what insults you're hurling at my great-grandkid!"
"Shut up, Kakarott! I'll say what I want to this pathetic little boy!!"
The other children gasped at the statement. Adonai roared as he pushed himself further. He'd show them! He could do it! Okano protected Soma, Serena hid behind Nyoku and Kash protected Koro who tried to get around him to see better as the wind picked up. Goku and Vegeta were stoic as they stood and stared. Suddenly, something inside Adonai popped. The new Super Saiyan charged his grandfather and began punching and kicking him faster than some of those present could see. The others looked on in wonder.
Vegeta slammed into the ground as the blows rained down on him. When dust obscured their vision, something beside flesh meeting flesh could be heard. Laughter. Slow at first, but as the contact sounds stopped and the dust began to settle, the laughter became more jovial. Never the less, it was still Vegeta's laugh, and that could only sound so friendly.
Everyone stood by and watched the pair with very puzzled looks. Vegeta lay on the ground, holding Ado above his chest by the shoulders and laughing a HAPPY laugh. Ado looked stunned.
"You did it!!" the Prince cried. "I KNEW you had it in you, Adonai!"
Ado blinked and chuckled. It was all just to push him; to make him mad enough to punch through the barrier. Goku began to laugh as well. The other children looked at each other.
Korosette folded her arms and closed her eyes. "Now you know what it's like at OUR house. God, they are so weird! It's so embarrassing!"
Little Capsule houses (courtesy of Bulma and Yamcha) dotted the landscape around the three permanent ones to accommodate the otherworldly guests, but everyone preferred to enjoy each other's company tightly packed inside Goku and Chi-chi's house that evening. As the children were getting sleepy and the coffee and tea had been exhausted, Vegeta started growing weary of chit-chat. He looked to his wife every few minutes and caught the same restlessness in her eyes. She winked to him and tilted her head towards the door. He grinned.
At the same time, Akago was plotting the same thing. She took Ryoga by the hand and lead him to the back door, hoping to slip out unnoticed.
"Go-chan, Sweetie, don't be out too late," Atsuko chimed without turning her head.
Akago froze in place. "Don't worry Mom." She removed a capsule from her pocket.
The Chi-chi's looked to the young couple with disdain.
"Don't you think she's a little young.."
".. To be going out with a boy, unescorted?"
Atsuko merely waved off their concern.
Go-chan exploded the capsule and put on the clunky goggles it contained.
"Uh, Go-chan. It's night out. I don't think you need those." Ryoga raised an eyebrow.
"Ha!" she laughed almost involuntarily. "Let's just say I have an allergy to moonlight." Go-chan brushed his cheek with her tail as they walked through the door.
Vegeta pushed away from the table and yawned dramatically. He made some grumbled excuse and quit his conversation. As he made his was through the crowded living room, a scream drew everyone's attention.
"Bulma!!" he cried and rushed to the door. Atsuko thought fast and blocked his way.
"Cover your eyes, your Highness! It's a full moon!"
"What!?" 'The moon!? Shit!'
Everyone who could, flew outside. Akiko exploded her own goggles and raced out to see her good friend mutate into an enormous, brown, out of control oozaru. Bulma beat her chest and roared, stomping this way and that, threatening the little community.
Dibad Bulma pushed past the crowd and stared up at the were-monkey. "Wow! Look at me go!" she shouted.
"Goten, Gohan!.." Goku cried to his sons and their doppelgängers. "Gosan, Trunks, go for the tail!"
"NO!!" Vegeta shouted, his hand over his eyes. "You touch her tail and you answer to me!!!"
"But, Vegeta..?" Goku whined. "She's gonna squish my house!"
He snarled and looked around under his hand for something to do. Then he spied the women. The Prince lunged, tore the goggles off Akiko and flew up to try to stop his wife, but he was batted away just the same as the others.
Akiko gasped and before she could bring her hands up, her pupils became saturated with moonlight preventing her from looking away.
"Akiko!!" Trunks cried as her eyes rolled back and she began to growl.
The men dodged Bulma's mouth beams and swatting hands, futily. Unwilling to hurt her, their hands were tied.
"Kiko! Catch!" Go-chan shouted as she ran back to the house and threw her own moon goggles at her sister. They landed perfectly on her head. Akiko collapsed on the ground and moaned with relief. Trunks rushed to her side to make sure she was all right.
Akago looked up to the Oozaru Bulma and the moon. She clenched her fists and got ready to transform for the fifth time in her life. She sprouted fangs, blue fur and pointed ears and grew to 300 some odd feet tall. She was only a few inches shorter than the brown one, but in full control. "Bulma! Hey!" her deep voice boomed off the distant mountain. "It's ok!"
Bulma stopped shooting and flailing and stared at the smiling were-monkey before her.
"Yeah, that's it, I'm just like you... only... blue!" She put her hand on her shoulder and gave her a series of reassuring pats. Bulma blinked and patted the blue beast back. Akago gave the thumbs up to the others. "Should I unplug her?" She motioned to her tail.
"NO!" Vegeta barked.
Trunks frowned at him.
"It's ok," Akiko laced her arm through his. "I understand."
"I'll take her into the forest till the moon sets, then." Go-chan monkey walked off with Bulma under the shadow of Mt. Paozu.
Everyone slowly went back indoors, but Ryoga stood and stared vacantly where the oozarus had been. Gosan looked over his shoulder, but when he didn't see what Ryoga was looking at, he shrugged and slapped the older boy on the back.
"Welcome to the family, Ryoga!"
He twitched slightly. "And I thought it was rough being a little, black pig!"
Rain threatened throughout the morning, so Atsuko left the weather channel up on the tiny television in her house. The women fluttered from room to room and house to house, like a dozen or so butterflies, getting everything ready.
"I got it!" Shieler announced as she and her daughter came back into the living room.
Atsuko looked up and smiled wide. "Oh, thanks!" She took the capsule and examined it.
"That hall should be big enough to fit fifty people," Shieler pointed at it with a long, pink fingernail.
"Excellent. Rain or no rain, this is gonna be great!"
"Mom!" Akago called from the East end of the room. "Come'ere, check it out!"
"I'm kinda busy right now, Sweetheart."
"It's the weather, Mom!"
Atsuko handed off the Capsule to a rather sleepy, betailed Bulma and navigated her way through the mess of people. The screen displayed a map of the region. The meteorologist pointed to a large, dark green mass, hovering perilously over them.
"...and as we can see, in the next hour, these storms will be whipping through the Southeast, depositing a healthy amount of rain..."
"Healthy, my ass!" Atsuko grumbled.
"Mom!" Akago blushed. She waved for her to be quiet.
"...but as it comes down from the Northwest, we see this warm front and this low coming in from the South and that's gonna dry things up, right quick. So, your afternoon in the Southern district is shaping up to be sunny and mild, temperatures in the high 70's to mid 80's..."
"Woo hoo!!!" Atsuko jumped up and down and cheered the meteorologist. "Well, there's one less thing I need to worry about!"
The men sat around in Goten's house, out of the way of the women, who had used them to do all the grunt work they could think of earlier in the morning. Vegeta stood by a window and looked out at the rain.
"If you ask me, it's a bad omen," he grumbled.
"Well, no one did," Etibi Gohan quipped back. His counterpart thought the same thing, but dared not be so bold with a man whom he had seen kill his father. "But I disagree, Vegeta."
"Gohan's right. A little rain never hurt anyone." Goku finished chatting with Kashtan and Okano, stood and stretched.
The Gotens nodded. Vegeta felt that he was being stared at and turned to face whoever it was. T adjusted his bow tie, blinked a few times and apologized. "Hey," he tried to cover for his rudeness. "Where's Trunks, anyway?"
He was answered in shrugs.
High above the grey clouds, above the little houses, Trunks and Akiko hovered in midair in an embrace.
"So, you scared?"
"A little. You?"
"Little." He nodded. "But, in a good way."
"Yeah," she smiled back.
"They're probably wondering where the heck we are."
"Oh God," Akiko laughed. "My mother's probably having an aneurysm!"
"Your mom is awesome."
Akiko grinned wider and hugged tighter. They kissed for several more minutes before descending quickly through the rain clouds.
'Please, God, don't let this be a disaster!' Atsuko thought to herself as she made the final preparations. 'It seems everything we do is always marred by some kind of wacky unexpected cataclysm. Just one day, please, that's all I ask; one, normal day where nothing goes wrong!'
"Mom, can you give me a hand?" Akiko called from her old bedroom on the second floor. She had her back to her, and the wedding dress was open. "I can't do it up myself."
"Oh! Of course!" Atsuko had spent the last night after the oozaru debacle altering the dress to accommodate Akiko's extra appendage. She carefully buttoned the dress around her tail. "Is that ok? It's not too tight, is it?"
"Of course not. You've been making clothes for me and Go-chan long enough, I think you've gotten the hang of it!" Akiko turned and smoothed her hands over her dress. "Well, what do you.." Her hair was unbraided and the two long locks on either side hung loosely. The dress was simple, but classic; white with lacy flowers and vines embroidered on the waist and shoulders. "..Mom? Are you ok?"
"Yeah! I'm great!" Atsuko sniffled. "Kikobaby, you're so beautiful!"
"Mom..." Akiko laughed humbly and hugged her.
Trunks paced a little in Goten's living room. Adonai stood with his back up against the wall and watched him. So. His family would finally be united. His father seemed happier than Adonai could ever remember him being since he had gotten back from the Mirai dimension. Although he didn't like the idea of being a Son, he figured he could tolerate it. If everyone else could. 'If only Okano and Kashtan weren't such huge dorks!!'
Gohan stopped staring at the floor and looked to his counterpart, who smiled. "Isn't it a great feeling?"
"Yeah, but, she's my Kikobaby."
"I know. Pan was only 18 when she married Rojan."
"Heh, I was only 19 when Kiko was born. That's nothing! We've been waiting for a long time!"
Rojan and Trunks both blushed.
"God! Is it time yet?! I feel like I'm gonna explode!" Trunks laughed.
The Rashaman looked to his watch. " Goku and them must have put up the Capsule hall by now."
Just as he finished that thought, Goku and Gosan burst in the door, the capsule still in hand. "Guys! Come'ere!"
As they filed out of the house, everyone gasped at the sight. A huge double rainbow seemed to cover the entirety of Mt. Paozu. The women poured out of Goku's house and remarked at it as well. The sky was still sort of dark and the smell of rain was thick in the air, but the sunlight kissed everything in the area and made it glow. The storm had passed.
"Well," Gohan said to the party. "How's THAT for a good omen?!" he smiled and poked Vegeta in the ribs. The Prince narrowed his eyes, but had to agree. It was a good sign, by any standard.
"Let's do this!" Trunks shouted, his fists clenched tightly and sweating profusely. "Before I pass out!!"
The crowd laughed and assembled, standing, on the lawn. Mira seemed to appear out of nowhere and stood before them all.
Akiko followed Atsuko out of the house quickly and awed at the rainbow. Gohan jogged up to her, took a second to take in how amazing she looked and took her arm. "We better do this now, huh?"
"Yeah, before that before beautiful thing disappears!"
"Or before Trunks spontaneously combusts!" he whispered as he lead her down the makeshift aisle. Soma skipped in front them, scattering daisies along the path between the groups of people. In a moment they were before the sorceress and the man from another world who would shortly be Akiko's husband.
"Welcome, all those gathered here today, to the marriage ceremony of Trunks Oujisama and Akiko Son. They have both come a long way to come to this point. All those present can vouch for this couple's deep and often misguided love for each other."
There was a smattering of giggles though the audience.
"They have produced two amazing children, Soma and Adonai, thus linking the houses of Son and Oujisama by blood. They have brought us all together to be in each other's company and to share in their love. Now, under the watchful eyes of Kami-sama, we will see these two bound together in grace as well as love."
Trunks lifted Akiko's hands up and faced her. They looked into each other's eyes. "Akiko Son. I love you with all my heart and vow to protect you and our children, forever." Adonai held up a dark blue, velvet pillow with two rings on it. Trunks took the sparkling diamond and slipped it onto her finger. Akiko bit her lip to keep from crying out with joy. She trembled as she took his hands in similar fashion.
Atsuko couldn't blink, but the tears flowed down her cheeks all the same. She squeezed her husband's hand tightly.
Bulma hugged Vegeta's arm and blotted away her tears quietly with the handkerchief he had given her.
"Trunks Oujisama. I love you..." she sniffled, "with all my heart... and vow to protect you... and our children!" Akiko hiccupped as she tried to stop crying, which made her (and a good deal of the audience) laugh. "Forever!" Her trembling hands picked up the ring and promptly dropped it. Before anyone could gasp, Adonai caught it and handed it to his mother. She smiled at him, and he couldn't help but smile back. Finally, she put the ring on Trunks's finger. The couple turned and faced Mira.
"As you are in my eyes, so you are in Kami's eyes, now and forever, husband and wife. You may seal this union with a kiss."
There was a three count of silence as they turned back to each other, embraced and kissed. Then the crowed showered them in tears, cheers and rice.
Akago ran back into her house and turned on the stereo and the reception began. Champagne flowed and the Chi-chis, Marron, Videl and Pan brought out heaping trays of food and put them on long tables. Akago dragged Ryoga to level ground in the middle of the lawn and forced him to dance with her. Fortunately, she drew so much attention, that no one noticed how bad Ryoga's dancing was. Gosan joined them, dragging the younger kids with him. The song changed to an old swing tune and Akago, Akiko and Gosan baited their parents.
"Come on! I'll dance if you guys do!" Akiko grinned.
Atsuko was bright red.
"What's the big deal?" Pan asked her grandfather.
"They can swing like ya never seen!" Goku made a goofy face and imitated some steps.
Finally, they relented. Atsuko handed her hair picks to her mother-in-law and kicked off her shoes. They awed all present with their moves. Atsuko was tossed up in the air several times before the song ended with a big finish.
"Ok," Atsuko panted. "Your turn." She gave her daughter's hand to her father. The next song was a standard, slow song called "At Last" sung by Etta James; just the sort of song Akiko used to hum to Soma in the Palace Between the Worlds when she missed her family the most. Akiko and her Dada danced in circles and whatever it was they said to each other, was between them.
Atsuko sat down in a Capsule patio chair and watched them go around. 'Such a long time coming,' she thought. 'So many trials, but we always come out on top. We even beat the rain. She really is beautiful. My little tom-boy. And her incredible children...'
Adonai watched as Koro, Soma, Kash, Serena, Okano and Nyoku played tag through the guests legs. He was inevitably dragged along by his female cousins. Atsuko giggled. 'He'll be fine. He just needs to get used to all this, like I did when I came here from Cymm all those years ago. Akiko was already five years old. There were some tough times, but we got over them because we loved each other.'
More people got brave and started to dance. Bulma could not budge Vegeta, however, and had to dance with her son instead.
'And now, our family is so huge! But...' the smiled dropped off Atsuko's face. 'Now that Akiko isn't a Goddess with the power to visit us... will we lose her to her NEW family?!'
"You ok, hun?" Gohan sat down next to her.
"Oh, Gohan, we'll never see her again!" she sobbed into his shirt. Shushing her, he stroked her hair and lifted her onto his lap. "Come on, Atsuko. Not yet. Let's be happy right now, huh?" He fought his own sadness as he tried to comfort her. Just behind them, Atsuko's sister listened to their worries.
People peeled away from the makeshift dance floor as another slow song came on. Akago grinned and looked for her sister's reaction. Akiko blushed as she recognized Cheap Trick's "I Will Be The Flame". She knew this was their dance.
"I love this song," Trunks whispered to her.
For four and a half minutes, the couple danced as if they were the only people in the world, in any dimension. Neither said a word, having left verbal communication behind. When the song ended, everyone applauded them and Goten tapped his niece on the shoulder.
"My turn!" He smiled.
"Goten," Mira came up from behind and startled him. "May I have a word with Akiko before your dance?"
"Uh…" He scratched his head. "Sure, Mira."
"Akiko, I know this is your day, but, could you do me a small favor?"
Akiko shrugged. "Sure, why not. Anything you want."
"Could you bring me the katana... right now?"
Atsuko saw the a look of shock on Akiko's face and became concerned. "Gohan, look." She pointed to the group in the distance. Trunks furrowed his brows and said something to Mira. She stood her ground. Akiko gathered her skirts and went into the house. "I'm going to find out what's going on," Atsuko said and slid out of her husband's lap.
"I'm right behind you."
Akiko returned to Mira, hiding the inter-dimensional key in the folds of her wedding gown. It was bad enough that Mira had made her remember that they would have to leave this dimension forever the following day, but she didn't want to ruin the good time of anyone else present. Her mother, father and Pan and Rojan had joined the group and were muttering to themselves. Mira simply waited for Akiko with her pale, blue hands clasped over her long, violet braid behind her back.
"Thank you. I wanted to get you something useful, Akiko, for your wedding. But I was sure that Capsule Corp. housed the best blenders and crock pots on Earth. So, my dear niece… Please. Hand me the katana." She put her hands out expectantly.
Akiko couldn't tell if she was joking or not. Mira never seemed to be able to tell a joke before, but this was all just so strange that Akiko felt like laughing. She made a face and handed the key over.
Once Mira's hands touched the sword, Akiko realized what she had done. All the guests' attentions were drawn to the spectacle. Light and wind and the like swirled around the sorceress. Her hair was cut into a bob with two long braids on either side. Her clothes mutated into a blue kimono and her skin became as white as paper. The new Goddess stood before them and grinned a thin grin of satisfaction.
"MIRA!" Atsuko shouted, astounded. "Does this mean...?"
"Yes, my sister. I must admit, I was jealous of our Akiko. There is nothing more in this world, or any other for that matter, that I would rather do than study sorcery until the end of time. This job is perfect, and indeed, I believe it was meant for me, not her. But, even higher powers make mistakes."
She glided towards Akiko. "I'm sorry if I upset you for a moment just then. It was only for effect," said in her new, silvery voice. "Here is my gift to you, Akiko." From her sleeve, Mira produced a thin, rock-like tablet with strange writing on it.
"What.. what is it?" she stammered.
"A passport: to and from the dimension of Dibad from and to the dimension of Etibi only. For anytime, and how often you and your friends like, with the exception of doppelgängers. Well, you know the rules."
Akiko blinked at the tablet then at her husband then at Mira. The Goddess nodded and was tackled as Akiko rushed at her and hugged her. "THANK YOU!!"
Atsuko spun around and hugged Gohan. A cheer went through the crowd, which had been listening intently for the last few minutes.
Akago's voice lilted above the others as she began to sing. "Aru hi mezameruto / suteki na asa ga matteta..." [One morning as I woke up / a wonderful morning was waiting…]
Then her mother joined her in harmony. "Sekai ga kyou wa / yasahiku mawari hajimeru..." [Today the world / starts to spin]
Akiko laughed with joy and ran to join them. "Mou boku ni wa kanashii koto nado / nanimo nai!" [I have no reason to be sad about anything / anymore] Then she sang to her parents:
"Tottemo kansha shiteru [I very much appreciate that]
Boku ni wa papa to mama ya..." [I have a papa and mama]
To Gosan, Rojan, Akago and Pan:
"Ototo ya imoto..." [Little brother and little sister]
To Goku and Chi-chi:
"Ojiichan obaachan..." [Grampa and Gramma]
To the guests:
"Naka no ii tomodachi..." [Good friends]
To Soma and Adonai:
"Soshite kawaii kodomo to..." [And my lovely children]
Then, she turned to Trunks:
"Soshite, soshite [And, and]
Kimi ga iru!" [I have you!]
He recognized the song from the one she sang spontaneously when they returned from Kiaditu only a week ago. As she was pulled to him, she left the other Rashawomen to finish the song. For the third time that day, applause and cheers resounded in the little valley; echoing their happiness for miles.
End Dragonball Alternate Dimension
Doppelgänger - Double, or second self
SONGS THAT INSPIRED THE BLUE-HAIR GIRL:TITLE ARTIST ALBUM WHO / WHAT "Special" Garbage V 2.0 Atsuko "Little Star" Madonna Ray Of Light Akiko "Intergalactic" Beastie Boys Hello Nasty Battle w/ Rasha "Planet Home" Jamiroquai Synkronized Homecoming "Hymn of The Big Wheel" Massive Attack Blue Lines Catharsis "Win Some, Lose Some" Robbie Williams The Ego Has Landed Trunks "Heaven Tonight" Hole Celebrity Skin Akiko and Trunks "Somebody" Depeche Mode 101 Akiko and Trunks "La Depression" Pizzicato Five Playboy Playgirl Akiko and Trunks "Love Island" Fat Boy Slim You've Come A Long Way, Baby Pan, Marron + JJ "Right Here, Right Now" Fat Boy Slim You've Come A Long Way, Baby Intro War of The Rasha "Disintegration" The Cure Disintegration Trunks "Teardrop" Massive Attack Mezzanine Pan and Rojan "Soma" Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream Soma "Adonais" The Cure (B-Side of The 13th) Adonai "Persian Love Song" Dead Can Dance Toward the Within Goddess Akiko "Sanvean" Lisa Gerard The Mirror Pool Goddess Akiko "Yaisa Maneena" Tokiko Kato Songs From The Cold Seas Goddess Akiko "Visur Vatsenda Rosu" Björk Songs From the Cold Seas Soma Spells "At Last" Etta James Northern Exposure Akiko "World Is Spinning @ 45rpms" Pizzicato Five Happy End of the World End
Aoi Kami Sarah would like to thank the following in no particular order:
Marty Hermans, JJ Auslander and Hali Feldman for listening.
Micol "Kita" Raab for being her gothic badass self.
TJ O'Connor for inspiration (see T and Okano...:)
Kiadi for being an amazing host and confidence booster.
Hoshino-kun for Japanese language support.
Jake Hermans for French language support.
Cartoon Network for bringing Dragon Ball Z to my attention in the fall of '98.
Neil Gaiman for the Sandman.
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